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Jackson joins Biden in the White House for a big moment

Dabbing tears from her face on the South Lawn of the White House, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson spoke about her personal journey to the steps of the Supreme Court and how it aligned with people’s hopes and stories. that she had come to symbolize.

“It took 232 years and 115 prior nominations for a black woman to be selected to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States,” she told the crowd. “But we got there. We have succeeded. All of us.”

A day after the Senate confirmed Jackson 53-47, the White House staged a presidential-level victory lap, with tear-filled speeches from President Biden and two of the women he held up as proof that his presidency Makes America More Fair: Jackson and Vice President Harris.

It was a historic moment for Jackson, but also for Biden, who served as vice president to the first black president, chose the first black woman to be named vice president, and is now linked with another groundbreaking first.

“It’s going to let so much sun shine on so many young women, so many young black women, so many minorities,” said Biden, who told the crowd that the nomination of a black woman to the Supreme Court was the one of the first decisions he made. did when he decided to run for president a third time. “Today is a good day, a day that history will remember. And in the years to come, they are going to be proud of what we have done.

Harris, who spoke just before Biden and presided over Jackson’s Senate confirmation vote a day earlier, said she will “inspire generations of leaders.” They will watch your confirmation hearings and read your decisions for years to come. »

The Vice President told the crowd that she wrote a letter to her goddaughter as she sat in the Senate Chamber ahead of the vote. “Her braids are just a little bit longer than yours,” Harris told Jackson. “But in writing to her, I told her what I knew it would mean for her life and all that she has in terms of potential.”

What Jackson’s sisterlocks mean for black women

All three addressed the personal and historical significance of Confirmation. But for an outside audience that included nearly three dozen Democratic lawmakers, there was also political significance.

Hours after the event, the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee announced that it had purchased digital ads from local black media in five battleground states – Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – where a increased black participation would benefit Democrats.

Two years after taking control of the White House and both houses of Congress, the Democratic Party faces a tough midterm road this year. Biden’s approval ratings have plummeted and large parts of the Democrats’ agenda have stalled, including issues important to black voters like police reform and voting rights.

Jackson’s rise gives Democrats a clear sign of racial progress to brag about. And the DSCC ads are a prelude to what is expected to be a months-long effort by Democrats to use Jackson’s confirmation to their electoral advantage. A digital ad features photos of Jackson and warns, “Senate Republicans tried to stop him. We must defend the Democratic Senate.

At the same time, some Republicans say opposing her is what their supporters would want, and several would-be presidential hopefuls have been particularly tough. During his hearing, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) suggested Jackson went easy on sex offenders. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) asked if she believed babies were racist, citing a book from a school where Jackson served on the board. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), in a speech to the Senate, said Jackson might have stood up for the Nazis.

From the South Lawn on Friday, Biden slammed some Republican senators for making “the most vile and baseless claims and accusations.” In the moments after his confirmation, to cheers from Democrats, many Republican senators quietly left the chamber.

Biden also called out the three Republicans who voted to confirm Jackson — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Mitt Romney of Utah — attributing them for “setting aside partisanship and making a carefully considered judgment based on the judge’s character, qualifications, and independence. He also joked “I hope I don’t get them in trouble” with his praise across the aisle.

Most importantly, he credited Jackson for his composure under the pressure of questioning, saying it showed what Americans should expect from his tenure in the nation’s highest court.

“We have all seen the kind of justice she will be: fair and impartial, thoughtful, careful, precise, brilliant, a brilliant legal mind with a thorough knowledge of the law and a judicial temperament, which is equally important,” Biden said. The attacks, he added, were familiar to “women and women of color who had to run the gauntlet in their own lives…you stood up for them too. They know it – everyone there, all the women there.

Still, 47 of 50 Senate Republicans vote against Jackson, with many citing objections to his “judicial philosophy.” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), for example, said in a statement that while “all Americans can be proud of his personal history,” he feared Jackson would “use his position on the Supreme Court to legislate from the bench.” “. .”

Speaking on CNN, former Sen. Doug Jones, an Alabama Democrat who helped Jackson navigate the confirmation process, dismissed those objections.

“I think it was a missed opportunity for a lot of people on this floor of the Senate yesterday … to be on the right side of history,” Jones said. “I think what you saw here was really an effort by a number of people to try to come up with something to hang their hats on to oppose this incredible, incredible jurist.”

Jackson, for his part, avoided politics on Friday. She thanked a long list of family members, friends, White House aides and senators. She reaffirmed her commitment to judicial independence and thanked lawmakers for “thorough and engaging conversations about my approach to judgment and the role of judges in the constitutional system we all love.”

She also thanked the three jurists for whom she clerked, including the one she will replace, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, who will retire this summer at the end of the Supreme Court’s term.

“My internship with Justice Breyer, in particular, was an amazing gift and for which I have only grown more grateful over the years,” she said.

But his most powerful words, which drew applause and at times tears from those gathered on the South Lawn, were about his role at this moment in American history. She quoted American poet Maya Angelou, who wrote, “I am the dream and the hope of the slave,” and alluded to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and Thurgood Marshall, the first judge. Supreme Court Black.

“We’ve come a long way toward perfecting our union,” she said. “In my family, it only took one generation to go from segregation to the Supreme Court of the United States. And it is an honor – the honor of a lifetime – for me to have this chance to join the Court, to promote the rule of law at the highest level and to do my part to carry out our common project. of democracy and equality before the law under law forward, towards the future.

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